Ode to Liberty
O liberty! celestial maid! Where has thy vagrant fancy stray'd? Dost thou from Andes' rifted brow See boundless empires spread below, See Orellana pour his stream Through forests vast, where yet the beam Of garish day could never come To penetrate the twilight gloom? Dost thou thy glowing bosom lave In shining Plata's sea-broad wave? Or dost thou listen to the roar, Where the collected waters pour Their dreadful course, and foaming sweep Down Niagara's horrid steep? And shall thy form no more be seen On Albion's hills and pastures green? Wilt thou no more Plinlimmon scale, Or sport in Cluyd's fertile dale? Wilt thou Ierne's plains forsake, And quit Kilarney's lovely lake? Shall we thy footsteps trace no more On Caledonia's mountains hoar?— Ah! nor proud Delphi's rising glade, Nor Pisa's consecrated shade, Nor Pindus' mount, nor Academe, Nor fam'd Eurotas' trophied stream, Could for an hour thy steps detain When Grecia bow'd to Vice's reign: Nor could alas! the softest gale That blows o'er rich Campania's vale, Tempt thee to breathe the Latian air When Luxury exulted there. Far from bright Phœbus' genial light Thy wings indignant shaped their flight To Scandanavia's frozen plain, Eternal Winter's drear domain; Where strong with toil each stubborn hord Joyful thy holy form ador'd: Though, where their tribes the earth o'er-ran, Fell desolation led the van, Though Horror midst their armies stood, And drench'd their fatal paths with blood; Yet theirs the unextinguish'd flame That glows at Freedom's sacred name, Theirs the firm breast that joys to bleed For Independence' godlike meed. But say, does Albion hapless groan Beneath a Tyrant's bloody throne? Say, do her dauntless Patriots feel The fatal ax, and torturing wheel?— O'er her no cruel Tyrant reigns, No patriot blood her scaffold stains. 'Tis Luxury's insidious hand Spreading Corruption through the land; 'Tis Indolence whose powers controul Each nobler purpose of the soul; 'Tis noisy Faction's selfish aim, Disguis'd beneath thy specious name. These are the fiends whose fatal rage In every clime, and every age, Have overturn'd each noble pile Rear'd by thy hands with useless toil: But where in hardship's rugged school Mankind have learn'd themselves to rule, Pale Slavery there may shake in vain Her iron rod, and galling chain: No force the fearless soul can bind, Or bow the unconquerable mind. Scorn'd is the Tyrant's harsh decree When inborn Virtue bids be free.
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